Car seats are the most effective way to protect your child from injury
in a serious
car accident. Yet current safety standards fail to test how well they fare in one of
the most common types of crashes.
Thankfully, that may soon change. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
(NHTSA) recently proposed upgrades to the federal motor vehicle safety
standard that will include a first-ever side impact test for car seats
sold in the U.S. that are designed for children weighing up to 40 pounds.
“As a father of two, I know the peace of mind this proposed test
will give parents,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.
“We all want to make sure our children’s car seats are as
safe as possible, and today’s proposal will give parents and car-seat
makers important new data on how car seats perform in side crashes.”
According to the
NHTSA, car seats would be tested in a specially designed sled test that simulates
a “T-bone” crash, where the front of a vehicle traveling 30
mph strikes the side of a small passenger vehicle traveling at 15 mph.
NHTSA’s data shows that “these speeds will cover over 90%
of the side-impact crashes seen in the real world.”
The NHTSA’s rule proposal will now be subject to a 90-day public
comment period. After the rule becomes final, car-seat manufacturers will
have a three-year timeframe to make any necessary changes.